Tuesday, February 19, 2013

PROVINCIAL FERRY SERVICES A COMPLETE MESS



A war of words has erupted in the wake of the latest display of incompetence by the Province’s Marine Services Division.

Frankly, the financial, logistical and organizational mess is the result of poor leadership and a lack of focus on growing problems with the existing fleet. 

Bureaucrats have been hampered by partisan postings and partisan interference for the last decade. 

In addition, an on again off again approach to ferry replacement has resulted in only two new ferries being added to fleet, cancellations of an RFP for new ferries and no clear strategy for the deployment of vessels.   

That does not even address the province’s hypocritical approach to ferry construction in the province which is a post in itself.

This lack of planning is costing government and tax payers hundreds of thousands of unnecessary dollars for emergency charters and helicopters to ensure communities impacted by the government’s incompetency are not isolated.

Another example, The Rencontre East - Bay L'Argent - Pool's Cove Ferry ferry is being replaced on an interim basis by the Northern Ranger. A passenger and freight ship over 200 feet long. It has cabins to sleep around 90 people. The cost to operate with crew, fuel etc is somewhere between 9 and 12 thousand dollars per day. Surely with proper planning a cheaper alternative could have been found while the communities' regular ferry was relocated to South East Bight.

South East Bight has been coping with replacement ferries for months.

Bureaucrats have been hampered by partisan postings and partisan interference for the last decade.   An on again, off again approach to ferry replacement has seen only two new ferries added to fleet, cancellations of RFP's and no clear strategy for the deployment of vessels.


After years of throwing good money after bad, the province finally said enough is enough last week and decommissioned the Nonia, after investing $19 million in repair work since 1999. The writing has been on the wall for years, yet there is no replacement for that vessel.

This week the residents of St. Brendan’s are livid that their new ferry is going to be redeployed to Bell Island while they get the provinces swing vessel, the rickety, 50 year old Sound of Islay.

A few weeks ago the RCMP were called in to free ferries in Southeast Bight and Rencontre East  because residents had tied up the vessels over concerns about replacement ferries.

I do not know how much thought goes into the deployment of vessels but surely residents who depend on the ferries and the taxpayers who pay for them deserve better.





5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Time to face up to reality and close these dead towns. The government is wasting a lot of resources on ferries, salaries, schools, roads, teachers, doctors, health nurses, sewer and water for what? Nothing but a drag on our economy.

Anonymous said...

The pcs have wasted millions on charting replacement ferries, choppers because the current boats are all falling apart. A bit of planning and they woudl be in money.

Anonymous said...

We lost our ferry over a year ago. The Winchester was not fit so they hauled her off the run.

We got the Terra Nova for the summer. Best boat we had but she is back down on the south coast. The new boat is supposed to be here soon. Your point about not being very prepared is right on the money buddy. They wasted some money helicopters and than our fish can not get out. Money is not very scarce for the wasting on the boats.

We met the summer at the time. Hopes you will come again

Anonymous said...

Where are those new vessels promised for the South Coast that could be built at smaller shipyards in the province as opposed to possibly being built in Marystown. They have been promising new boats since they was elected.

Anonymous said...

Where are those new vessels promised for the South Coast that could be built at smaller shipyards in the province as opposed to possibly being built in Marystown. They have been promising new boats since they was elected.